Research (2): Sexuality and Genes

They say ‘its all the genes’ or, alternatively (and especially if you are trying to convince someone of a religious persuasion) “God made me gay just like he made you straight…so live with it!”

But maybe, according to a newspaper article we read over the weekend, it isn’t.

Consider these identical twins:

That’s a picture from Patje’s ‘Bambiboyz’ site, by the way – hence the ‘bambi’.  Identical twins. Identical in every way, at least at birth, and generally speaking throughout life unless one of them does something disfiguring or otherwise adopts a polar opposite sort of lifestyle in order to be ‘different’ from the others.

I imply no particular sexuality to those two – just happens to be a picture I had noticed and saved for this piece. The newspaper article gave two examples of identical twin girls, one of whom was gay and one of whom was straight. Genetically, they are identical, so how can this happen?

No-one seems sure. Both pairs claimed to have realised they were different as small kids in the ‘dressing-up’ phase, one going all ‘girlie’ and the other as action heroes (male). In each case, one always wanted to play with girls and the other with boys. Then, when puberty hit and they started looking for friends in the ‘mating’ sense, their significant difference became all too clear!

So where does one’s sexuality come from? What determines it? ‘They’ have looked at whether there is a greater chance of homosexual trends in the first or second born, with inconclusive results. They’ve thought about whether the foetuses could have ingested different hormones from the mother, either naturally or as a result of pre-birth medical interventions. They have thought about the changes in temperature, and conditions in the womb, after the first birth and before the second – and like whether a hormone rush after the first delivery induces some change in the second foetus. But if the ‘tendency’ doesn’t lie in the genes, where does it lie? Brain? Or something in the environment, after birth? No-one seems to know for sure.

Maybe you can ‘catch it’ from your puppy!

No, maybe not! My son Leo (and, indeed, Dave’s daughter Jaymee) are 100% straight – its very obvious. Yet each has a gay dad and a lesbian mum. And so many people say ‘I guess you’ll be pleased that your son [daughter] will be gay….’ And when we say they’re not, some folks will not believe us. And, of course, we’ve have also occasionally had the line ‘How dare you bring kids into the world when you know you’re gay and that they’ll be the same’ – these remarks most often from the bigoted and ignorant, or the particularly religious (especially in the US bible belt where we’ve been living and bringing the kids up).

In summary: we don’t mind being gay (in fact, it’s perfectly natural so far as we are concerned and therefore, de facto, acceptable to any God that might exist since it is His/Her doing); we don’t understand why we are gay (that’s the interesting bit because it would be interesting to find out); our kids are not disadvantaged by our being gay and, effectively, have had two mums and two dads throughout their younger lives as two LG couples shared their parenting and also lived in the same house for years… and so, if any has a problem, tough.

But we would dearly love to know the answer to that ultimate question… ‘Why is one person straight and another gay?’… especially when they are genetically identical!

Let me know what you think and, in the meantime, some loving gay couples for you:

Our story, for what it is worth, can be found in these three volumes, each ISBN link leading to more information:

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

My recently-published fourth book also charts the course of a (fictional) gay boy ashamed of his sexuality (which absolutely doesn’t fit his community ideals) who seeks, loses and then hopes to re-find his true love:

So, all a bit topical! The guy on the next book, by the way, is straight. You’ll need to wait a fair while for that one though.

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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One Response to Research (2): Sexuality and Genes

  1. Pingback: We Are What We Are | Tony Cavanagh

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